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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Yale: Nearly Half of Adults with Heart Disease Can’t Afford Their Medical Bills

More than 45 percent of non-elderly adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) report financial hardship due to the associated medical bills, according to a Yale research team. Worse still, about one in five report being unable to pay those medical bills at all, said the researchers.

This study appears in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

According to the study, which was scaled up from the data sample provided by the 2013-2017 National Health Interview Survey, the non-elderly American adults with ASCVD experiencing medical bill-related financial hardship represents an estimated 3.9 million individuals.

“It is remarkably disheartening to see how many people suffer severe financial adverse effects of having atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, Yale cardiologist and director of the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE). Dr. Krumholz also has an appointment at the Yale School of Public Health. “We have much work to do to ensure that people are spared the financial toxicity of disease that is imposed by our current healthcare system.”

Of the group who indicated financial hardship, more than one in three reported that they have also experienced significant financial distress, cut back on purchasing basic necessities like food, and/or skimped on taking essential but costly medications in response to the burden of their medical bills.